News from the San Joaquin Valley
Associated Press, carried in Mercury News
December 22, 2006
Fresno, Calif. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle a sex abuse case with a former parishioner.
Bishop John Steinbock has publicly apologized to a 54-year-old man who said he was molested by Monsignor Joseph Pacheco, a priest at St. Rita's parish in Tulare, in the 1960s.
Steinbock acknowledged that Pacheco molested the victim, who was not identified. Pacheco molested several other boys before he died in 1992 at age 60, Steinbock said Thursday.
The victim's lawyer, Owen Campbell, said he discovered that Pacheco invited several eighth-grade boys to spend the weekend with him at the Tulare church and that church officials never stopped him.
Diocese officials said the church was unaware of the sexual abuse when it occurred, and noted they have taken steps in recent years to protect children under its care.
The diocese is facing another lawsuit in which a former alter boy accused a Fresno priest of molesting him nearly 20 years ago. The diocese maintains Father Eric Swearingen's innocence.
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